Police boarded an EasyJet flight that originated in Tel Aviv after it made an unscheduled landing in Luton England to “prevent a possible ‘breach of the peace’ by a group of strictly Orthodox Jewish men”.
According to a Jewish Chronicle report on Wednesday, the flight in question departed on Monday at 14:55. The problems began when haredi passengers insisted they be seated next to men and not women. They refused to take their assigned seats. There was a delay as they reportedly blocked the aisle until some females voluntarily agreed to change seats to accommodate them.
The Jewish Chronicle report quoting passengers on the flight states ten men were involved, describing them as “ten men in black hats” who refused to be seated and then blocking the aisle.
Later into the flight, one of the men plugged his cell phone into the control panel area for one of the cabin crew, causing exit lights to turn on. A crew member instructed the man to remove the phone charger, explaining he was compromising the safety of the flight.
The airline said: “easyJet can confirm that flight EZY2084 from Tel Aviv to Luton on 13 February 2017 was met by police on arrival at London Luton due to a small group of passengers behaving disruptively by not complying with the captain and cabin crew’s request to take their seats both prior to departure from Tel Aviv and during the flight.
“For the safety of all passengers easyJet’s crew must ensure that whenever the seat belt signs are illuminated all passengers are in their seats with their seatbelts fastened.
“easyJet’s cabin crew are trained to assess and evaluate all situations and to act quickly and appropriately to ensure that the safety of the flight and other passengers is not compromised at any time.
“Separately during the flight a passenger plugged a mobile device into a USB port on the crew control panel in the forward galley in a foolish attempt to charge it.
“This led to the exit light above the panel being illuminated but did not in any way compromise the safety or security of the aircraft.”
Local police escorted the ten men off the flight. It does not appear that anyone was placed under arrest.